Free agency gone according to plan for Cowboys

Updated: March 12, 2004, 1:36 PM ET
ESPN

IRVING, Texas -- It's not like Jerry Jones to sit quietly while others are making headlines, especially when the newsmakers are division rivals.

Yet Jones said Thursday the slow, steady pace the Dallas Cowboys have taken in free agency is exactly what they wanted.

"The plan was for it to come to us," Jones said after announcing his first big move, the signing of defensive end Marcellus Wiley to a $16 million, four-year deal that includes a $4.5 million bonus. "We kind of felt there were some real high numbers out there that didn't make sense to us."

Several players the Cowboys pursued signed elsewhere. Others they were interested in -- from cornerbacks to punters -- also found new teams.

Then there's the pending deal for receiver Keyshawn Johnson. A $20 million, four-year contract is ready to be signed once Tampa Bay either trades him to Dallas or cuts him. Something is expected by April 1 because he's owed a $1 million bonus that day.

"We want him here," Jones said, "and he wants to be here."

The Cowboys are willing to give up receiver Joey Galloway, but he's not interested in Tampa Bay's offer of $1 million for one year. His agent, Leigh Steinberg, said talks were "mildly resurrected" by Buccaneers general manager Bruce Allen on Wednesday night.

Jones said he's also looking at quarterbacks, but only as backups to Quincy Carter.

"We're not out of business at quarterback, but that's not to be read into as Quincy being out of business," Jones said. "He's still the starter."

Jones said he doesn't regret not pursuing quarterbacks Mark Brunell or Jeff Garcia, and he's not interested in Tim Couch, who is likely to be cut or traded now that the Cleveland Browns have Garcia.

Drew Henson, meanwhile, still intrigues the Cowboys. Jones said the holdup is "a lot of moving parts," such as Henson's contract demands, what Houston wants for his rights and the chance he goes back into the draft.

Jones said help is on the way at running back and offensive line, although the additions may come through the draft and they might not be headliners.

"We will add someone at running back," he said. "Now the level that we do it at, that's the horse of a different color."

Cornerback is another position Dallas is studying. Bobby Taylor and Troy Vincent remain possibilities, with Taylor having said he's interested in the Cowboys.

Asked about the big bucks spent by Washington owner Daniel Snyder, Jones smiled wide and said, "I've been watching them do it for the last several years."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index